Berlina/Giulia/Giulietta Register Newsletter No. 31 (January 2011)
Notes and Comment
This issue is late, as I’ve been uncharacteristically busy lately both at work and at home; I apologize for the delay. Things keep jumping around at my place. After retiring the GTV from track use, I rebuilt its engine, pulled the engine back out a month later to check on some perceived noises, put it back in, decided it was fine, and sold it. That leaves the race Super as my track car. It’s had three track events now, the first two not so good (Lotus club at Laguna Seca, Alfa club at Buttonwillow) since its teething problems were not yet sorted. October time trial at Buttonwillow went quite well; car ran faultlessly. I’m still a couple second off my best GTV time, but I think that’s me, not the car. I had 15 years to get used to my GTV and was driving right to, and sometimes beyond, the edge. I’m going easier thus far in the Super, in part because the October event was somewhat wet and the track was cold and slippery.
I also bought a 1987 Milano Gold, in need of mechanical love. The car was well cared for when new, having almost $60,000 in maintenance over the years, but needed brakes, clutch, timing belts, etc. I did all that, in part to learn to work on a V6. Passed smog, all good, but I cannot for the life of me get the brakes to bleed properly after changing the MC and rear pads. Greater minds than mine have chipped in and we haven’t solved it. It’s probably going to be for sale, as I’m sick of working on it. Also, my 1956 Giulietta Berlina is for sale. I’m trying to be realistic on how many cars I can own, and which ones I want; this one, while charming as hell, just doesn’t fit into my long-term plan. See ad below if you’re interested. Have the only one on your block!
The Register household and garage has been swarmed lately with non-Alfas. I maintain a few friends’ cars, and I put a 1965 Mercury Cyclone back on the road after 20 years for a guy who also owns a Euro 1750 GTV. This has got to be the biggest two-door “compact” on earth; it completely filled my garage. Scattered around it were the three scooters (two Vespas, a Bajaj) I bought this year, four Yamahas (R5, RS100, two RD400s) and the BMW R65 that’s getting pushed farther and farther back. Go two strokes! And my wife bought a 1971 VW Westfalia Weekender Bus to replace our longtime 1970 Bus, sold five years ago, which she still misses. So I’ve got that engine out to fix several items and replace the clutch, and it needs a full brake job. My wife has known it since new and its one owner, a UCLA professor, it was garaged its whole life, and has no rust. How many cars like that get offered to you for a more-than-fair price?
EXTRA EXTRA! Here’s a flash; a Register member gave me this 1974 2000 Berlina Saturday totally out of the blue. Note the extent of the patina, something I insist on. It’s a rubber bumper car converted to stainless. A car I owned back in 1999, it needs a few things to make it whole, but I have most of them, and the price (free) was certainly right. Do I need another car? Like a hole in the head. So the Register has a 70s Berlina, for the first time in several years. Will fix up, drive, then decide its future.
In this issue a couple Berlina Register tour reports, an entertaining Berlina track report from Snetterton by Ian Jephcott, and a bigger-than-normal Berlina Market Report. The market has been active, if unpredictable.
The keeper of the Berlina Register, North American Giulia Sedan Register, and Giulietta Sedan Register is Andrew Watry, email email@example.com. Send corrections to your information or any other Giulia- and Berlina-related facts, rumors, tips, or needs. Always seeking articles for the newsletter. The keeper of the international Giulia Sedan Register is Barry Edmunds in Australia, email Giulia105@optusnet.com.au
Berlina on the Track
By Ian Jephcott
Just a quick rundown of my visit to Snetterton on 25th October 2010, one of the last trackdays to be held on the original circuit layout before being redeveloped over this winter. What started out as a cold, damp, and slightly frosty morning turned out to be a pleasant and rewarding day of driving. My Berlina being totally stock save for the wheels, tyres, and electric cooling fan conversion did rather well up against the rest of the far more modern machinery on the track that day. Being no match for the Caterhams, Porsches, Skylines, etc., we settled into a steady routine with a mid 90's model Mazda MX5 (Miata?), having 200cc's less than the Berlina, but also being smaller, lighter, fuel injected, and lowered/stiffer suspension was a better car for the track. The Berlina held its head high all day though, never missed a beat, drank fuel like a fish, and was commented on by several people there as being the best looking car on the track all day. The guy in one of the Porsches admitted to holding back behind me for a lap or two as he was quite entertained by the “one back wheel off the ground” stance on some of the tighter corners. He had no previous experience/knowledge of the Berlina. While chatting over lunch about its pros and cons he seemed fairly impressed by its mechanical attributes and was considering looking out for one, or something similar, as an out-and-out track car instead of using his Porsche, which by his own admission, although a fine piece of modern machinery, was no great challenge to throw it round a track, as it just seemed to take it in its stride.
What had started out as a damp and slippery track in the morning that had me twitching around a bit through some of the corners and taking it real steady, later became a far more enjoyable experience as the sun shone, the track dried, the tyres got a little warmer and stickier, which in turn lead to great photos being taken of me enjoying my Alfa, driving it the way it should be.
Two 2010 Berlina Register Tours
Here are reports on the two tours the Register ran last year. In April, had a great tour from Fremont to Mount Hamilton to San Jose, with 24ish cars including 11 Giulia sedans and Berlinas, I believe Register record at one event. Route couldn't have been more fun or pretty with green hills, wild flowers, horses, Alfas, a red XKE. Thanks to these attendees for a great time:
Ralph and Felix vied on googlemaps for the "drove farthest to be there" award (each well over 100 miles) and I'm giving the "prettiest car" award to Loren and Kim for the stunning XKE, not totally in its element on first- and second-gear hairpins at 4600-feet elevation, but still. Beautiful car.
In early October, the Register held a Fall Highway One Tour. Nice drive along California’s scenic Highway 1 starting in Pacifica, along SR 35 to Sky Londa where there were a million Nortons, Triumphs, BSAs that we crossed paths with the rest of the day; lots of mutual admiration. Down Alpine Rd. to Pescadero, looped around to Pigeon Point, then back up to Pescadero Beach for a picnic. Best part of the day for me was running in front of Aaron’s Morris Mini and watching it in the rear-view mirror understeer through high-speed corners. It and the Maserati 3500 ran together for some time and they are a great pairing, if about as different as they could be. My recollection of who was at the off in Pacifica:
Berlina/Giulia Market Report
1972 US 2000 Berlina. Green/tan Berlina that sat outside in the Sacramento Valley for decades. Rough all over but complete. $500 craigslist, Willows CA. I looked at but passed on this car a couple years ago when the seller wouldn’t go below $1000. At $500 a fair-enough deal, but it’s a complete project, or a parts car. It probably took plenty of effort even to drag it out of the field on its flat tires. Bought by a guy with a lot of sedans, so it’s gone to a good home. 2/10
1965 Giulia TI. A very original grey TI in need of restoration that was excavated from blackberry bushes a couple years ago in Lake County, CA, passed through a couple hands before ending up in a CA collection. $10,000 private sale, San Francisco CA. As original a TI as you could find, in both the good sense and the bad sense. Lots of patina, but lots of wear. Original receipts, papers, license plates, all kinds of cool stuff. One large rusty spot in the trunk, but otherwise straight and solid. Head was off for years; mechanicals will need fully going through, so this will be a pricey proposition by the time it’s done. I’d call it expensive, by perhaps 100%. 2/10
1965 Giulia TI. White race car that is rough cosmetically but dialed in mechanically. 2000 engine, Webers, full roll cage, suspension mods, the works. Has run time trials and races with AROSC for some years and is well-known in SoCal. $7,000 private sale, Escondido CA. I paid $10,000 for my Giulia Super race car and it’s not nearly as fast as this car, which was well built in the first place, then dialed in and developed as a good father/son team raced it. The sale price included a trailer and I’d call this a pretty smart buy, if you didn’t mind the drooping trunk. Par for the course cosmetically on a race car. Went to an LA racer/collector. Can be a class leader right out of the box. 3/10
1969 US 1750 Berlina. A maroon/tan car partly taken apart/partly restored, then sat for a long time. Rockers repaired, engine out, alleged to be complete, kind of a kit. $2000 craigslist, Long Beach CA. This car was advertised off and on for some time, with a difficult noncommunicative seller. I looked at the car in person and could not get good info out of the guy. Came with extra doors and a good 2000 engine, removed from a 1978 Spider. For a home mechanic, a reasonable price, maybe a bit high. The buyer engaged a qualified shop to help him assemble it and now has a superb daily driver, with great engine, good brakes, etc. However, I wouldn’t want to know what the total cost was. I think he wasn’t worried about it and just did it, which sometimes is the right way to go. This is a heart, not head, project. 4/10
1967 Giulia Super. A white/red Super that was off the road, untouched, with a few cool period mods (chrome steel wheels), covered in dust in a San Francisco garage. Unmolested, straight, but years/decades of non-operation lead to questions on the mechanical condition. Just the kind of project Super people are looking for. $6500 craigslist, San Francisco. Everybody who was anybody in the Bay Area sedan scene responded to a strangely worded craigslist ad. We all showed up at once and a small bidding war ensued, not the most pleasant way to spend your day (I stayed out of it). That said, I think the final price was fair to the buyer (perhaps a good deal by a couple thousand), though the cost to reactive the car (engine, hydraulics, etc.) is unknown and could be plenty high. But a time-warp unmolested Super? People are willing to pay almost anything for one. As they say, find another. 5/10
1965 Giulia TI. Green/tan TI. $3000, craigslist, Portland OR. I don’t recall this car, but it must have been a project at this price. That’s what I get for delaying the newsletter; I forget the details. 5/10
Pair US 2000 Berlinas. Two very nice but dusty 2000 Berlinas from the estate of a deceased Alfa guy. One red with black seats, very stock, good condition but with tired paint and a nose panel for a Euro car with turn signal openings above the bumper. The other a nicer maroon/tan car with Jafco turbo kit. Both cars had been loved, but the owner got sick and they sat for some years. Included as a package deal for all three was a very nice early GTV. $22,000 package deal craigslist, Novato CA. Hard to know the specific value of the Berlinas in this deal. Bought and flipped almost immediately, as the buyer really wanted the GTV. The red Berlina sold for $4300. I inspected it for the buyer, and spruced it up a bit mechanically. He did the cosmetics. Without spending much money, he has a really nice driver 2000, in a good color, with excellent mechanicals. In spite of sitting for years, it had nice steering, brakes, and a strong engine and gearbox. Excellent deal for the buyer by a couple thousand dollars. The maroon Berlina sold to Los Angeles for $7000ish, had the Jafco turbo motor removed (stored for a later project) and replaced with a stock motor. It was improved extensively, both cosmetically and mechanically, and sold back to a Bay Area buyer for $8500, I think a fair price for both parties. The car really couldn’t be any better mechanically, and the buffed paint looks incredible, but has a few small flaws that would be some effort to sort out. It looks stunning and drives just as well. 5/10
1969 US 1750 Berlina. Formerly stunning maroon/tan car, passed through a number of hands and gone to seed a bit. When in the Bay Area 10 years ago, this was the nicest Berlina in the world. One owner from new who took ultimate car of it; it was perfect. When he sold it, successive middlemen saw $$ to be made and it got flipped and flipped. By this ebay sale, it had been poorly repainted, Spica replaced with Webers (sacrilege!), the seats were worn, and the seller seemed difficult. $8425 ebay, Los Angeles. At the height of the market and in its prime condition, this should have commanded the highest price of any Berlina in the US, probably over $20,000. The mighty have fallen a bit, and I regard this price as a borderline bargain. I think the non-forthcoming seller was as much the cause of what seems like a low price as any degradation of condition of the car. Cars are only original once, and someone(s) sure made this un-original; a real shame considering how it looked when I last saw it. 6/10
1967 Giulia Super. Red with grey interior, very nice, all fixed and stock. $22,000 AlfaBB. I don’t recall this car either, alas. A very good price for a post-recession sale. 6/10
1967 Giulia Super. Common color combo of green and tan, fully restored at Vintage Customs in Washington. Had original 1600 with excellent compression, GTA wheels, excellent all around. $22,500 AlfaBB, Seattle. This was as nice a restored Super as you could hope for, in the right spec and with the right look. Generated a lot of discussion on the BB, and the buyer met the seller’s asking price without a quibble. Very conscientious seller, provided lots of info and wanted a happy buyer. This is the going rate in the US for the best Supers now. 7/10
1965 Giulia TI. Grey with red seats. A car with a good story. Bought several years ago off Florida craigslist for $1500 and successfully driven home to Oakland. Has a carbureted 2000 engine, 2000 brakes, and rear axle. Started out white and quite rough, but seller did the interior, fixed the rust himself, and had a driver-grade paint job done at a cheap place in Oakland. Now a strong, solid car that needs a few details sorted out to work as an everyday car. $9750 AlfaBB, Oakland CA. I saw and drove this car a number of times, and it was remarkable the improvement the seller made to the car compared to when he bought it. That said, it still had some minor sorting to be done, and the cosmetic were iffy. I was a bit surprised at this price, and think the seller did well by a thousand or two. That said, there have not been many running Giulias for sale lately, and this was a very fast car with the major jobs done, which you could drive anywhere. 10/10
1967 Giulia Super. Modified, unfinished race or radical street car project. Included Spica 2000 engine, cut/shaped rear fender flares, provision for fuel cell, no seats. Include extra parts such as bumpers, etc. $2400 Alfa BB, San Jose, CA. This car took finding the right buyer; it was wrong for most people. The extent of the body changes (no trunk floor, rear flares) meant someone who wanted a normal Super was not in the running. You had to be able to do serious bodywork, or want to build a race car along these lines, for it to make sense. For the right buyer, this price seems just about right. 10/10
Pair 1967 Giulia Supers. Two white project cars partly taken apart, been sitting out for decades. Unclear whether complete, but both rusty and dirty. $2225 ebay, Spokane WA. It was not possible to say from the listing if these could be turned into operable cars, or whether you were buying a collection of parts surrounded by ferrous oxide. Either way, for the bumpers, lights, interior, etc. not a bad deal, maybe a tiny bit high priced. If one car could readily be made operable, then not a bad transaction. Buying parts cars sight unseen on ebay, with poor pictures and non-knowledgeable sellers (as is often the case on ebay with unfinished projects), is unquestionably a crapshoot. 10/10
1974 US 2000 Berlina. Silver rubber-bumper car with grey velour seats. This was a solid, usable driver, lowered a bit, with a sliding sunroof and a tough look to it. Came from California a few years ago, so not rusty, but metallic paint was flat and interior, including headliner, needed attention. Mechanicals all there, if a little tired, and a bunch of extra parts included. $3000 AlfaBB, Overland Park KS. I came quite close to buying this car, but just couldn’t get the deal to make sense from 2000 miles away. For the right buyer, a reasonable deal, especially including the spares, but transportation costs and fix-up, if that happens, will lead to a relatively pricey car. My plan was to use it as a beater driver, with the metal sunroof as a cool unusual feature. If the buyer pays to restore it fully, he’ll quickly have an over-$10,000 Berlina. To use as is, the deal seems about right, maybe a bit high for someone not with driving distance of Kansas City. But again, market forces seem at work, because how many driveable Berlinas have been for sale lately? Prices may be edging up a bit. 1/11
Berlina Register Classified Ads
1956 Giulietta Berlina for sale. 1956 US-market Giulietta Berlina (original version of Giulietta sedan, before TI came out), very original car, body will need work as will interior. Straight, grigio alba paint, but rusty in the lower extremities and doors (four new ones included). Rebuilt engine (head, crank, pistons), new clutch, resealed column-shift 750 gearbox, rebuilt brakes, u-joints, exhaust, steering idler, generator, water pump. Everything works except horn, wipers, gas tank sending unit. Heater fan works, but water not hooked up. The engine is original 750 block with original rebuilt head (Norman Racing said the best 750 head they’d ever seen). Has 9.0 pistons, Veloce intake cam, two-barrel Solex and air cleaner, though it's easy to return to the original one-barrel. Has 101 4-2-1 exhaust.
See thread on Giulietta forum on AlfaBB (“Giulietta Berlina Restoration”) for lots of information and pictures. Registered, insured, driveable, with California plates and title. I got it from Bill Gillham 2 1/2 years ago, it had kicked around the northwest, rusting, for 35 years. As a pre-1957 car, is eligible for Mille Miglia, California Mille, etc. Comes with many NOS and used parts:
• NOS instrument binnacle
• NOS hood “bullhose” trim
• NOS pair grille eyebrows
• NOS trunk handle/license light
• NOS front ashtray
• NOS rearview mirror
• NOS pair inside above-door grab handles
• NOS front and rear window seals, NOS door glass seals
• NOS trunk seal
• NOS radio blanking plate
• NOS single-throat Solex 32 PBIC
• NOS 750 fuel pump
• NOS six-inch headlights plus rims, bulbs, reflectors, etc.
• NOS Berlina hubcap set (three loose, one on car)
• NOS single-throat intake manifold
• Two NOS doors, two good used doors
• Extra set door alum window trim
• Rebuilt Lucas mechanical-solenoid starter (has Bosch starter installed and push switch)
• Lucas wiper motor
• Exhaust clamp
• Column shift linkage, probably 101
• Two used Solex 32 PBIC
• Extra set bumpers and overriders (need chroming)
• Two good chrome rocker spears
• Original single-throat intake manifold with water pipe
• Bag window and door knobs
• Pair extra taillight bases
I have $12,000+ and many hours in it; I paid $7000 for it car and that’s what I’m asking. Call or email. With too many cars in my life I’d like to see it find a new home quickly. firstname.lastname@example.org; (510) 526-0391